A healthcare worker receives a dose of Covishield at a government-run hospital at Baruipur on the outskirts of Kolkata. (Image: Reuters)
A day before India opens up its vaccination drive to everyone above the age of 45, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Chairperson of Empowered Group on COVID-19 vaccination RS Sharma chaired a high-level meeting with health secretaries, state mission directors of National Health Mission and state immunisation officers of all states and UTs.
Bhushan and Sharma reviewed the status, pace and issues on COVID vaccination as well as the preparations for April.
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Identification of low vaccine coverage pockets particularly in districts showing COVID surge and necessary corrective actions to be taken were discussed in the meeting, as per a health ministry press release.
The ministry advised the states and UTs to retain vaccine wastage at below 1 percent. At present, the national vaccine wastage rate is around 6 percent.
The following advice was given to states and UTs
On vaccination coverage of healthcare and frontline workers
> Ensure only eligible beneficiaries are registered and vaccinated under the category of HCW and FLW.
> Archive incorrect/duplicate entries on CoWIN platform.
> Identify pockets of low vaccination coverage – health facility/professional association/blocks, districts etc., for taking corrective action.
> Saturation of vaccination of these groups on priority.
On involvement of Private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs)
> Conduct regular reviews of vaccinations at private CVCs with respect to their capacity utilisation.
> Undertake GIS analysis of CVCs to identify the need for additional CVCs within States/UTs.
> Address apprehensions of Private CVCs regarding vaccine supply, guidelines proactively.
On the issue of vaccine stock
> There is no sedimentation of vaccine stocks at any level of storage.
> Distribution based on consumption to avoid overstocking as well as under-stocking at Cold Chain Points and CVCs.
> Regular review of vaccine stocks and consumption is undertaken to identify gap areas and address the same.
The Centre also advised the States and UTs to regularly review vaccine wastage across all levels to minimize the same.
"Ensure timely utilization of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines without usage. Timely updating of data of vaccine consumption to be ensured on CoWIN & eVIN portals," it said.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak